New Journey After Run Across America


A new journey is the beginning for a former pastor from Illinois who ran across America to raise money for water in Africa.

Steve Spear, 50, finished his cross-country run on in September 2013 at New York’s Battery Park, overlooking the Statue of Liberty. He started on April 8 in Santa Monica, Calif.

For five months, he wrestled with the daunting physical, spiritual, and logistical challenges of running 3,081 miles and the weighty implications of his goal to raise $1.5 million to provide clean water for 30,000 people in Kenya.

“In one sense, this run was my greatest trusted friend, hated rival, and constant companion,” says Steve. He insists he still does not love to run.

From lonely, soul-searching hours on the road, to getting the flu, to treating blisters on his feet, and questioning his original motive for the cross-country run, life on the road almost got the best of him.

“One day, I got to the point … I was just kind of going, ‘This is utter nuttiness,’” Steve says. “I told my wife, ‘I think I’m done, I think I’m done.’”

He wasn’t done. He finished. A breakdown of Steve’s run by the numbers:

  • Completed 3,081 miles (14 states)

  • Ran the equivalent of 118 marathons 

  • Recorded 6.8 million steps 

  • Burned through 10 pairs of running shoes 

  • Consumed 5,000 calories per day

  • Gobbled up 1,000 sandwiches (PB&J)

  • Raised $425,000 for his goal of $1.5 million for clean water

The journey brought new perspective and increased resolve to run a few miles so that Winnie, his family’s sponsored child in Kenya, wouldn’t have to walk as far for water, he says.

I feel like one of the most privileged people on the planet to do this,” Steve says. “It was unspeakably difficult. But for me, it’s a gift. Now I feel like I’m supposed to steward that gift well.

“I still feel committed to raising a million and half for water. I still feel called to devote myself to running and how running changes lives.”

Written by Chris Huber

Photo © 2014 Chris Huber/ World Vision

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